Lot 273: English mechanical and civil engineer (1806-1859) considered one of the most important figures of the Industrial Revolution, making wide-ranging contributions including innovations in dockyards, railways, steamships, bridges, and tunnels. ALS signed "I. K. Brunel," eight pages on two sets of adjoining sheets, 5 x 8, March 24, 1856. Letter concerning his groundbreaking Renkioi Hospital. In part: "I have been daily expecting a positive declaration of peace and a consequent determination of nothing more at Renkioi, but rather to break up the establishment...I believe the peace is nearly made and I expect any day to be asked to advise as to what shall be done with the hospitals-and you may tell [the doctor] that this is my expectation and that being desirous of giving the best advice I can I should like to know whether he thinks that the reputation the place has acquired of healthyness-and if...the army within his knowledge is at all likely to such a place being wanted and to Renkioi being selected for a hospital for any time after the real departure of the army for patients that can't be moved or for patients that the climate would be desirable for, or any other thing...I should be very anxious that our our success hitherto shall should be followed by a...funeral...I don't want the thing to be flung into a ditch when done with." In fine condition, with scattered soiling to the last page.
The wounded soldiers of the Crimean War were subjected to unsanitary conditions while recovering and disease ran rampant within British military hospitals. In response to Florence Nightingale's plea to the government, Brunel was invited to design a prefabricated hospital building that incorporated pioneering hygienic measures such as access to sanitation, ventilation, drainage, and rudimentary temperature controls. The result was the Renkioi Hospital, a landmark in the history of prefabricated buildings, hospital design, and healthcare.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs & Artifacts
Friday, 23rd October 2015
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